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Full text of "Alaskan glacier studies of the National Geographic Society in the Yakutat Bay, Prince William Sound and lower Copper River regions"

878                                 ALASKAN GLACIER STUDIES
Portlock's whaleboat and yawl cruised in the vicinity of what seems to be Knight Island Passage, while looking for the Passage Canal route to Cook Inlet, which they seem to have thought to be a river. They state that "On getting over to the South West shore, they met with great quantities of drift-ice, coming as they supposed, out of that opening, and at the same time heard a constant jumbling noise resembling the breaking up of ice in a large river." The officer in command encountered fog and did not push on or see the glacier, whose presence he seems not to have suspected. The map is indefinite, but the description of icebergs and noises indicates that a tidal glacier in Icy Bay, extended as far or farther down the fiord than seven years later when Vancouver's expedition entered these waters.
The first description and map of the Icy Bay Glacier was made in 1794 by Vancouver's expedition. Lieutenant Whidbey states that in going up outer Icy Bay from Point Countess they passed "many large pieces of floating ice, which were in great abundance in this part of the sound." He describes inner Icy Bay, which they saw on June 4th, as " a bay on the western shore about a league wide, and about four and a half miles deep terminated by a compact body of ice that descended from high perpendicular cliffs to the water side, and surrounded by a country composed of stupendous lofty mountains covered with snow." The map accompanying Vancouver's account shows the terminus of the glacier at a point in Icy Bay somewhere east of the head of Port Bainbridge and probably near the entrance of Nassau Fiord. The representations of the shorelines on this map (see inset, Fig. 56) are sufficiently detailed for us to identify the location with some certainty.
On October 0, 1886, Seton Karr visited the native village at Chenega near the mouth of Icy Bay, and he has published a sketch of Icy Bay as seen from Chenega Island, showing a glacier and snowfields in the background. Since Tiger Glacier could not be seen from Chenega Island, and since Chenega-Princeton Glacier cannot be seen from that point at present and would not be visible unless they were sufficiently expanded to extend outside the mouth of Nassau Fiord, this picture is interpreted as proof that the Chenega-Princeton Glacier remained in the expanded position of 1787-1794 up to at least 1886. Seton Karr speaks of Icy Bay near Chenega village as "a broad bay covered with small icebergs" and says that "close at hand several glaciers descend into the sea from . : low flat snowfields." He could not have made the latter statement on the basis of what one may now see at Chenega.
After his visit in May, 1887, Applegate, quoted by Davidson, referred to this ice tongue as "a fine glacier, coming down to the water." He seems to have made no map of Icy Bay so that we do not feel sure from his description alone exactly where the glacier ended at that time, though, as stated above, Seton Karr's sketch of the previous year fixes the approximate location of the terminus.
The army expedition of 1898 under Glenn published a map (see inset, Fig. 56), showing Icy Bay with a glacier which terminated east of the head of Port Bainbridge as in 1794, and with an outline different enough from that sketched by Whidbey to suggest that it was located by a new survey, as the roughly-contoured fiord walls also suggest. No Icy Bay Glacier is mentioned in Glenn's account and the map may possibly be based on some earlier survey, later than 1794. If made in 1898 it shows that the Icy Bay Glacier front remained in essentially the same place from 1794 to 1898, changing only in shape. The map shows "floating glacier ice" in Knight Island